The Law Society of NSW has formally recognised the role buyers’ agents play in property sales, following a campaign led by the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).
The acknowledgement comes six years after a ground-breaking decision to include the contact details of buyers’ agents, also known as buyers’ advocates, on the front page of a contract for sale of land.
Nick Viner from Buyers Domain, who chairs the REINSW Buyers’ Agents Chapter Committee, revealed that the Committee had lobbied for this change to also be included in the Law Society’s Residential Conveyancing Protocol.
With more people around the State using a buyers’ agent to secure a home, the Committee believed it was important to recognise their growing importance and involvement in property transactions.
“We also felt there would be some solicitors and conveyancers who may be less familiar with working with buyers’ agents, and it was time to clarify our value in the process for the benefit of all the stakeholders,” Mr Viner said. “To our enormous satisfaction, we have been delighted that the Law Society were happy to make the changes.”
While the new Residential Conveyancing Protocol won’t change the practice substantively, it recognises buyers’ agents alongside selling agents and solicitors, and includes the following:
- The purchaser may appoint a buyers’ agent to search for properties, inspect and short list properties, conduct research, organise due diligence, negotiate and bid at auction on their behalf.
- Where the purchaser appoints a buyers’ agent, the seller’s agent must deal with the buyers’ agent rather than the purchaser, unless the purchaser instructs otherwise.
- The buyers’ agent must take reasonable steps to identify the purchaser prior to accepting the appointment.
- Where the deposit is held by the buyer’s agent, if any part of it is dishonoured or not met on presentation, the buyer’s agent must immediately notify the vendor’s solicitor verbally and then in writing as soon as possible.
- The buyer’s agent must confirm in writing to both the vendor’s solicitor and the purchaser’s solicitor, the amount of deposit held by the buyer’s agent as stakeholder as soon as possible after exchange.
Buyers’ agents have existed in NSW for around 30 years but are no longer used exclusively for high-end property purchases.
Mr Viner said their services are becoming increasingly popular across a wide price bracket, especially in the current booming real estate market.
“People are missing out being able to secure properties and with the current lack of stock they need some assistance,” he said. “Finding the right home is time consuming. Properties are so much more expensive than they ever used to be and there are ramifications of paying too much or buying the wrong property – there is a lot more at stake now.”
Leanne Pilkington, President of REINSW, said huge congratulations must go to the Buyers’ Agents Chapter Committee - lead by Mr Viner - on creating another milestone for their profession and the fact that the review of the documentation had started back in May 2014.
“They have showed determination, expertise and patience that has paid off big time,” she said.
The new Residential Conveyancing Protocol is now live on The Law Society of NSW’s website.